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White House Threatens To Veto House Version of CISPA

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, April 16 2013

The White House on Tuesday threatened to block the passage of a landmark cybersecurity bill in its current form, saying that it doesn't do enough to protect citizens' privacy when corporations share potential threat information with intelligence officials.

"The Administration, however, remains concerned that the bill does not require private entities to take reasonable steps to remove irrelevant personal information when sending cybersecurity data to the government or other private sector entities," according to a Tuesday statement issued by the White House. "Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held accountable – and not granted immunity – for failing to safeguard personal information adequately."

The bill, H.R. 624, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA,) seeks to enable corporations to share potential threat information from the Internet with intelligence community. But activists and digital rights group says that the legislation hasn't struck the right balance in protecting the private communications of everyday citizens from being spied upon by the military.

On Tuesday, the White House said that its top staffers would recommend that President Obama should veto the legislation in its current form.

"The Administration is committed to working with all stakeholders t find a workable solution to this challenge," according to the statement. "Moreover, the Administration is confident that such measures can be crafted in a way that is not overly onerous or cost prohibitive on the business sending the information. . Further, the legislation should also explicitly ensure that cyber crime victims continue to report such crimes directly to Federal law enforcement agencies, and continue to receive the same protections that they do today."

The full House is scheduled to vote on the legislation either Wednesday or Thursday.